Chris Woodward is gone, but the Texas Rangers need a bigger change

ARLINGTON — The firing of manager Chris Woodward on Monday was the kind of baseball news that generates ripples, not major waves. A large number of Rangers fans will take little satisfaction in the announcement for one simple reason.

Jon Daniels is still in charge.

And just how much he runs the show and whether Chris Young, now two seasons into his time as general manager, ever gets to really grab the reins remains to be seen. The announcement of the not-so-surprising firing arrived in a news release which contained three paragraphs of quotes from Daniels and nothing from Young. The news conference held 90 minutes later at Globe Life Field began with more than three minutes of Daniels talking and explaining while Young sat next to him in silence.

Obviously, Young took several questions during the back and forth with the media, but the impression the club stubbornly provides is that Daniels remains firmly out front.

Now for those of you who think that Nolan Ryan is the real reason this franchise got to two World Series a ago and that Daniels should have been gone after the role he played in Ryan’s departure, I can’t do anything more to correct your misformation. Daniels proved his value as a GM in those days, trading for most of the key pieces of back-to-back AL champions.

The 2011 season, however, is ancient history in baseball terms. And now Daniels has presided over six straight losing seasons (most of them more horrific than this one). Believe it or not, even with Texas having fielded some awful teams since hustling out of the nation’s capital in 1972, this is the longest losing stretch in Ranger history.

Daniels, who was booed during the club’s Hall of Fame ceremony Saturday night while Young drew cheers, said it’s absolutely fair for fans to question why he’s still here. He added that he considers himself to carry a large part of the responsibility for the club undergoing a massive rebuild so quickly after having the league’s best record in 2016, then added something people may find interesting.

“As far as any personal accountability on my part, that’s something we’ll address down the line,” Daniels said.

Is he stepping aside in October? Is there more management shuffling to come? Unfortunately owner Ray Davis, who sat near the front of the room during the news conference, left without taking any questions about Daniels or the club’s future Monday.

The other meaningful thing Daniels said, and he did it several times, was basically to excuse Woodward for the team’s record — at least for his four-year record if maybe not entirely for this year’s 51-63 mark.

“The talent and the roster construction is a bigger factor in our wins and losses the last few years than anything,” Daniels said.

Those are the responsibility of a GM or, in this case, a club president. Not a manager.

I’m not trying to absolve Woodward of all blame here. He will go down as the Dave Campo of Rangers managers, a guy who presided over a tough rebuild with little chance to win and didn’t add much to the mix. This year’s team has a run differential that says the Rangers should have a better record than Chicago or Boston. They don’t. It says they should be right behind Baltimore.

They are not.

Both Daniels and Young seemed to talk around the idea that this club hasn’t been properly prepared for games and that its 6-24 record in one-run games is the area where a different skipper might have kept them in the wild-card hunt . Still, it all gets back to the big picture which has been alternative shades of grim for several years now.

“We did not come into this season thinking we had put together a championship roster,” Daniels said during his opening remarks.

Young echoed his boss.

“We didn’t expect to go worst to first this season. Woody had a positive impact on the culture,’ Young said. “This is about moving forward.”

The managerial search will be a collaborative effort that goes beyond the president and the GM, Young said. What we don’t know is if that’s the end of the front office story. Maybe there will be more. Maybe what Daniels said about addressing things down the line was meant to let us know that change will be made at a higher level.

Young has had two years to learn the ropes. I do not doubt for a second that Daniels, 17 seasons deep into his time as GM and / or president, has assisted him on that front. But Young pitched in the majors for 13 years, he went to Princeton and he’s less than two years younger than Daniels. He’s more than qualified to be the front man for an organization.

Regardless of whether some still refuse to give Daniels due credit for his early work as a GM here, it’s time for Ranger fans to see a bigger change than the dismissal of Woodward represents.

Correction, 6:30 pm Monday: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed the Rangers’ record in one-run games. They are 6-24 this season, not 6-27.

Twitter: @TimCowlishaw

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